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curly vs. straight apostrophe in French
Thread poster: raphafra
English to French
Sep 16, 2008


I am translating English > French and the TM I received from my client contains both curly and straight apostrophes in the French.
My French keyboard gives me straight apostrophes when I use it with TagEditor and I would quite happily replace all curly apostrophes with straigth ones but I am wondering: what are the RIGHT apostrophes in French, curly or straight? Is there any definite rule about that?

Also, in case the curly ones should be the right ones, does someone know how I can switch my TagEditor to the curly apostrophes?

Thanks a lot for your help!


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:55
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
As far, as I can tell Sep 16, 2008

the preferred quotes for French are « guillemets » (and they are separated by spaces from the adjacent text, unlike in most other languages).

You can easily type in those « guillemets » with Ilya Birman's typographic layout ( or Europatastatur (

Oops, I must have been far away when reading the question. Nonetheless, the above layouts have curly apostrophes as well.

[Edited at 2008-09-16 12:43]

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Patrick Fischer  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:55
Member (2008)
French to German
+ ...
be careful Sep 16, 2008

I just tried to install the programme from www.eurotastatatur... and my computer breaked down. I have windows XP. I managed to fix it, more or less, so be careful.

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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:55
English to French
No set rule from what I have seen Sep 16, 2008

As far as I can tell, there is no wrong or right apostrophe in FR, it depends on customer requirements.
In some conversions curly apostrophes may end up replaced with ' or some other symbol/string in the final product (such as software of Web-based), so the way to handle them varies.

You cannot switch between one type of apostrophe and another in TagEditor, which is just a purpose-built HTML editor. You have to type Alt0146 each time, or replace straight ones with curlies, making sure not to replace also those in source segments (therefore a Replace all may be tricky).

Apparently, your reference material doesn't tell you which apostrophes to use. If the Web cannot tell you either about the end customer policy, ask your customer, or, to be on the safe side, replace them all with straight apostrophes. A minima, you should keep consistency within a project if the customer is unresponsive.

In the same vein, I apply a similar approach to decide whether blinking capitals should be accented in French. I learned for instance that Microsoft want their capitals accented, whereas HP does not.

Hope it helps,

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:55
English to French
+ ...
Curly Sep 16, 2008

To my knowledge so far, French uses curly apostrophes. I would need to check. I flipped through Le Ramat de la typographie, but haven't found anything on this so far. I'll be back when I find an authoritative resource explaining this.

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English to French
curly apostrophe in TagEditor/French Sep 17, 2008

Thank you very much to all who answered.

In the meantime, I found an article on the web that explains the source of the confusion between curly and straight apostrophe. Maybe this is of interest to someone.


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